Tips for Job Seekers and the New Way to Discover Careers

Our CEO Elise Runde Voss chats with Beta Gamma Sigma about how the job search should be a career discovery, as well as UpScored’s mission and vision. This post originally appeared on BGS’ Society News.

Meet Elise Runde Voss, CEO & Co-Founder, UpScored

An interview with BGS member Elise Runde Voss about her startup, which uses proven algorithms to combat the noise of the job hunting process and puts a refreshingly personalized spin on the way we hire and get hired.

Can you describe UpScored for our audience? What does this new tool offer job seekers and employers?

UpScored is a career platform that uses artificial intelligence to connect people to their best-suited jobs while automatically learning their career interests. Who has time for the noise on LinkedIn and Indeed? UpScored shows candidates jobs they’re most likely to get (and want) in less than two minutes.

For employers, UpScored connects hiring teams to the candidates they’re most likely to place. Our proprietary algorithm formulates a score that reflects the fit of a job seeker’s skills and experience against a company’s job description. The right candidates for each role are surfaced to the top, saving companies time and headache. We work with top companies in NYC like Refinery29, SeatGeek, Outbrain, Yext, and Spring.

What is the mission of the business, and where do you see it going in the next five to ten years?

Let’s be honest. The job search process can be miserable. Companies have the same problem — it’s extremely time-consuming to find the right person for each role. The market is noisy and cluttered. It’s our mission to cut through that noise by applying AI and smart data science techniques to the system. We envision a world where career matching is personalized and efficient for both candidates and companies.

Currently we’re focused on the New York market. Our next step is to expand the platform by region — we see UpScored as a global brand. Over 90 million professionals are open to or actively looking for another career, yet job openings are near 15-year highs. There is a massive disconnect and a lot of ground to cover!

We see UpScored’s long term vision as very simple: using better technology to organize the labor market. When we think five to ten years down the road, we look to companies like Netflix and Amazon for inspiration.

How did you get involved in UpScored? What is your role in the business, and how did your background/education prepare you for a tech startup?

Prior to UpScored, my two co-founders and I worked together extensively while building the Big Data Strategy Group at SAC Capital, a $10bn multi-strategy investment fund. Together, we grew the team by 6x to a 25-person group. Most importantly, the idea for UpScored originated from our personal experience building the team. While trying to find candidates, we experienced firsthand the challenging process of recruiting and hiring — and how candidate choices can greatly impact growth and culture.

Each member of our Founding Team brings a different set of skills to the table. At our last company, I built the group’s business development efforts. I’m UpScored’s CEO. Dan, our CTO, led the formation of the predictive analytics and modeling team. And Robert, our COO, laid the foundation for the text analytics and data exploration teams. At UpScored, we’re leveraging our previous experience with data science to build a business that is very different from other career sites. Our algorithms dig much deeper into individual skills, work experience, and education to curate personalized job recommendations.

Can you tell us a bit about your own background (e.g., where you grew up, where you went to college, your interests)?

I grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and attended the University of Iowa. I graduated with a B.B.A. in Finance and a B.B.A. in Marketing. My first job out of college was at Barclays Capital in New York City. I traded Technology stocks for a year and then moved within Barclays to a position where I covered Internet and Media companies such as LinkedIn and Netflix in a proprietary research role.

Outside of work, my interests range from long distance running (I ran both the Chicago and New York marathons) to spending time with family and friends. When I was younger, I water-skied for a team competitively for 9 years — so I try to find time to do that when I can, too!

After learning what you have about the job search market, what are your three top tips for job seekers?

» Be proactive before you want to make a career move: actively update your resume and hone your story before you’re looking to move careers. I suggest regularly keeping notes on projects at your current job and putting a reminder in your calendar to update your resume every three months. On that same note, the final version of your resume should be one-page.

» Be open to all opportunities initially: while finding a new job shouldn’t be a second job, it’s still important to keep an open mind before writing off career opportunities. If an unexpected (and seemingly irrelevant) opportunity comes your way, assess the job description and think about your passions, strengths, and skill gaps before deciding it isn’t for you. Take a methodical approach with all opportunities.

» Do your research ahead of time: once you’ve narrowed your potential prospects, truly understand the role and the company. Follow the company’s news (it’s easy via Twitter, Google News Alerts, etc.), research how the company fits in its respective ecosystem, fully understand the responsibilities and requirements of the role, and try to find someone at the company to talk to before the interview.

Any words of advice for young Beta Gamma Sigma members, especially recent graduates who want to become entrepreneurs or work at startups?

While I didn’t have experience working at a start-up before pursuing my own venture, I did have experience building a team and various products at my previous company. Learning how to strategize and put ideas into action are important skills to have in the start-up world. For recent graduates, you can gain this experience in a number of ways — from working at a start-up to pursuing a passion project or volunteering for a charity or non-profit. Generally speaking, persistence, tenacity, creativity, and focus are important qualities to have — no matter where you are working.